Walsh Gallery

Nalini Malani: Mother India: Transactions in the Construction of Pain


Dates: Jul 20 2007 - Oct 6 2007

Opening Reception: Jul 21 2007

Walsh Gallery is thrilled to have the U.S. debut of Nalini Malani's seminal work, Mother India: Transactions in the Construction of Pain, which will run from July 20 - October 13, 2007. This multimedia installation, inspired by a text by sociologist Veena Das comments on the abuse of women during times of war or intense political conflict. Specifically, Malani addresses the unprecedented degree of violence inflicted by men during the Partition of India in 1947 and during the Gujarat genocide in 2002. According to Das, "The bodies of women were metaphors for the nation, they had to bear the signs of their possession by the enemy." It is this idea of possession and collective powerlessness to which Mother India responds, providing a voice to those who have been silenced.

Ms. Malani's new media piece Memory: Record/Erase is inspired by a story written by Bertolt Brecht. The story has been transposed into a visual narrative in which women and men are created and destroyed. In fact, the figures are almost washed out of existence. They either turn into drips of paint which fall down the screen or become erased. The drawings are done slowly. The entire effect of the video is as if you are watching over the shoulder of a painter in action. The video is based on a story about a woman who disguised as a man, takes a job at a factory that her dead husband was promised. She even marries a "wife" and has two children to complete the charade. Finally, after four years she is discovered and loses her job to a man.

The last piece in Ms. Malani's solo show is called Stains. This video also has a painterly quality. It starts out as various bodily fluids are dropped onto the surface of the screen creating stains. These marks ebb and flow, turning into humans involved in ambiguous acts towards each other. The video seems to question human nature and man's ability to create pain in another.

Nalini Malani has pioneered contemporary art in India for over two decades. Trained as a painter of the Baroda School, today Malani has achieved widespread international acclaim as a new media artist. Malani's work has been exhibited at biennials all over the world including at the Taipei Biennial (2006), iCon: India Contemporary, Venice (2005), the 7th Sharjah Biennale, U.A.E. (2005), Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2003), the Havanna Biennial (2000), and the Gwangju Biennial, South Korea (2000). She will have a solo show at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin in July of 2007. Malani participates in this year's Venice Biennale, exhibiting her work in sala 23 in the Italian Pavilion at the Giardini. Walsh Gallery featured a special installation by Nalini Malani at Venice Videoart Fair on San Servolo Island in Venice on June 8 and 9, 2007.

The show Nalini Malani: Mother India will correspond with a major initiative by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs titled, New Narratives: Contemporary Art from India. This group exhibition will run from July 21- September 23, 2007. More information: http: //egov.cityofchicago.org.

Exhibition catalog available.

Contact gallery at 312.829.3312.